Sexualised Violence in the National Debate: Cross Border Observations on India and South Africa

Sexualised Violence in the National Debate: Cross Border Observations on India and South Africa

African Woman: Sexualised Violence in the National Debate
by
Melanie Verwoerd & Claudia Lopes
Heinrich Böll Foundation Southern Africa
Place of Publication: Asset Print, Cape Town
Date of Publication: April 2015
Number of Pages: 152
Language of Publication: English
License: All rights reserved.

This publication documents an exchange project undertaken by the India and South Africa offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation on sexual violence between 2013 and 2015. The project sought to analyse and raise debates on what drives and sustains sexual violence against women in these two countries and to determine whether strategies to prevent and redress this are working. A documentary based on the project is also available for viewing.

This publication documents an exchange project undertaken by the India and South Africa offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation on sexual violence between 2013 and 2015. The project sought to analyse and raise debates on what drives and sustains sexual violence against women in these two countries and to determine whether strategies to prevent and redress this are working. A documentary based on the project is also available for viewing.

In 2013 the world came to know of two young women: Jyoti Singh Pandey from India and Anene Booysen from South Africa. Both were gang-raped, brutally attacked and died fighting for their lives.  If it wasn’t for their families, outraged citizens, and civil society activists, they would today be nothing more than statistics, two digits added to the alarming number of women raped and murdered worldwide.

Although the fates of Jyoti and Anene received a great deal of publicity and public outcry, they are not unique. In both countries and many more, violent acts against women occur on a daily basis, but are either widely ignored or taken as normalcy. For decades, feminists from across the globe have sought opportunities to think and act together in order to make the struggle against gendered violence a political priority. This publication is the outcome of such an attempt.

During an exchange project implemented between 2013 and 2015 by the India and South Africa offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, leading academics, researchers, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists reflected on the following questions: What were the specific dynamics and circumstances that propelled the two cases into national and international prominence? Do state responses and the media adequately address patriarchal gender relations? What needs to happen to improve women’s safety?

We hope that this publication contributes to a deeper understanding of sexualized violence, which is needed to devise impactful legislation and policy. Although national contexts, societies and strategies may differ, as the case studies illustrate, both Jyoti and Anene shall remind us that violence against women has to end.  Everywhere.

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To download the publication and view a thought provoking documentary called “Two Worlds, One Fight” based on this project please follow the links below.
http://www.enca.com/media/video/checkpoint-ep26-two-worlds-one-fight

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